Fire Chief Walt W. White was sworn in as Sacramento Fire Department’s 21st Fire Chief on July 2, 2014. He leads a department with over 650 members who provide service to over 500,000 residents and respond to over 70,000 calls a year.
Chief White is a graduate of the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Fire Service Management from California State University, Sacramento and a Master of Science degree in Executive Fire Service Leadership from Grand Canyon University. Chief White participated in Harvard’s National Preparedness Leadership Initiative and is a member of Cohort X.
In 1984, Chief White began his fire service career as a volunteer firefighter with the Novato Fire Protection District in California. He served as a seasonal firefighter for the Marin County Fire Department and worked as an Emergency Medical Technician for King American Ambulance in San Francisco, California before joining the American River Fire District (ARFD) in 1987. In 2000, ARFD reorganized with the Sacramento County Fire Protection District to form the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District.
Prior to his appointment to Fire Chief of the Sacramento Fire Department, Chief White held a variety of assignments, including Engine, Truck and Rescue Company Captain; Operational Battalion Chief; Academy Drill Instructor; Paramedic Internship Coordinator; Director of Training, Health and Safety; and Assistant Chief.
Chief White is a member of the International Association of Fire Fighters, California Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association, and International Association of Fire Chiefs. He is also a past president of Sacramento Valley Fire Training Officers Association.
Chief White is an advocate for firefighter fitness and has competed annually in the Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge since 1992, earning titles as Open Division Regional Champion, Over 40 Division California State Champion and two-time National Champion in the Fire Chief Division. Chief White co-founded the Fire Dogs football team along with Sacramento Fire Captain Craig Pannell. Since 2003, the team has competed annually with Sacramento Area Law Enforcement Agencies in a full contact charity football game, raising thousands of dollars to support several Sacramento area charities. Chief White has also coached youth sport programs for several years.
Fire Chiefs – Past and Present
In early 2012, the current and six former Fire Chiefs of the Sacramento Fire Department came together for an historic photo opportunity. This photograph commemorates the greatest number of Sacramento Fire Chiefs ever assembled together for a photo. Together their tenures span forty years!
Pictured left to right: (Top row) Gary Costamagna (1988-1999), Dennis Smith (1999-2004), Julius Cherry (2004-2006), Forrest Adams (2006-2008), (Bottom row) William R. Powell (1973-1986), Ray S. Jones (2008-2013), Ray Charles (1986-1988).